What is Mondo Zen?

Mondo Zen is Jun Po Roshi’s modernized and westernized expression of the Zen inquiry practice. Mondo Zen koan dialogues share the roots of the classic koan model:

  • Have an insight
  • Spontaneously demonstrate that insight
  • Articulate the insight
  • Bring that insight into our lives.

The first three phases are fairly standard, and the fourth (bringing that insight into our lives) is expanded in Hollow Bones Zen practice. In addition to the ongoing reflection on how we bring our vows* to life, we also engage in emotional koan practice.

An emotional koan is a flexible method of inquiry used to embody compassion by getting the deeper information from our feelings and transforming their quality in our bodies, thus gaining insight into what is necessary in the moment. Through emotional koan practice, we consciously choose intelligent, compassionate responses to our feelings instead of unconscious, counterproductive, and habitual emotional reactions.**

Mondo Zen gives practitioners the whole map of practice up front, so students are able to understand and implement the elements of practice immediately. To do this, we do not require students to “pass” the inquiries, allowing them to go through the process. As the map settles into our conscious experience and informs our daily life, we can revisit each step in the Mondo Zen process again and again. Zen is the embodiment of awakening; working our practice multiple ways – through Mondo Zen Facilitation and guided by the 5 practice mirrors- is essential.

  *HBZ Vows include: Three Refuges, Three Pure Precepts, 11 Precepts, Four Awakened Vows

  * *Feelings are the raw sensory data of our embodied experience. Emotions are the abstractions of feelings into named experiences, such as: anger, shame, disconnection, fear, sadness, jealousy, lust, envy, joy, bliss, excitement, anxiety and so forth.

Why do we do it?

We practice Mondo Zen Facilitation as a means of sudden awakening in the spirit of our lineage. The “transmission” between teacher and student can facilitate a profound shift in perspective that empowers us to realize the infinite potential of our nature and cultivate the skills to bring this perspective forward in our lives.

Through genuine insight into the nature of our suffering, we are able to transform this and live with unbounded freedom and baseless joy. This resolution of our suffering through compassionate wisdom brought to life is no different today than it was at the time of the historical buddha, Siddhartha Gautama.

Because western zen students are so deeply identified with emotions, deconstructing emotional experience is a powerful way to point toward the realization of anatman, the Buddhist teaching of “no-self.” This is often a stumbling block in cultures rooted in personal identity. In short, Mondo is a great tool to learn how to Eat Suffering & Shit Joy.

Ready to try Mondo?

Contact our Mondo Coordinator to connect with a trained facilitator.